Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Turning Point


Yesterday's dramatic storming of the LegCo building was hardly “extreme violence”, as Carrie Lam characterised it – few heads were bashed – but it was a hugely dramatic act of targeted symbolic property damage.  I know I am not the only one wondering whether Beijing agents were involved in stirring up the action with the aim of discrediting the protest movement - which might help explain why the riot police presence inside the building evaporated as soon as the protesters broke through the glass door.  

Be that as it may, over the past few years the Hong Kong government has been systematically narrowing the scope of allowable political discourse.  Consider for example:
  • LegCo expulsions
  • Election candidate disqualifications
  • Anti-filibuster rule changes
  • Basic Law “reinterpretations”
  • Forced “respect” for the symbols of the ruling regime
  • The ban on the Hong Kong National Party
  • Expulsion of journalists
  • Barring entry to Hong Kong by perceived opponents of the government – not just wild-eyed revolutionaries, but sober British Parliamentarians
  • Pushing through highly unpopular legislation without adequate scrutiny
  • Hysterical over-reaction to minor public order offences during protests (what we might call the fish sandwich syndrome) – contrasted with a completely spineless response to cross-border political kidnappings
  • More restrictive conditions for protests
  • Reining in of academic freedom
  • Declaring various topics off-limits for discussion in schools
  • etc. ad nauseam.

The problem with this strategy is this: the more that certain political views are excluded from normal channels of expression, the more their expression will take other – and almost certainly less peaceful and less controllable – forms.  Add in unaffordable housing and the totally unacceptable extradition bill, and the inevitable outcome is the shock of yesterday's kerfuffle.

So Carrie Lam, if you really want to get things back to normal, what must you do?  The answer is simple: stop it.  Everything on my list above, just stop it.  Drop the extradition bill completely.  Forget about the Lantau white elephant reclamation project, and use the money to give Hong Kong's senior citizens a dignified old age instead.  Face up to the vested interests of the property developers and the Heung Yee Kuk and get serious about housing.  And if Beijing won't let you do any of this, then at least you can regain the respect of the Hong Kong people for trying, and we can all stop pretending that One Country Two Systems still retains any shred of meaning.

Friday, June 28, 2019

That Shrinking Feeling

If this graffito - spotted in Bonham Strand West, home to many dried seafood merchants - is to be believed, shark stocks are not the only thing getting smaller.

Making It Better:
Hong Kong Shark Foundation

Friday, June 14, 2019

Chorlton / Hardy

So someone finally told them about this - but what a klutzy solution! And why change the Chinese as well?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Carrie on Lying

Does anyone in Hong Kong really believe that Carrie Lam thought up the controversial extradition bill all by her vacuous self?  It has Beijing's fingerprints all over it, not least in the indecent haste with which the usually lethargic government is pushing through a .change widely opposed by the legal sector, many of Hong Kong's major trading partners, large parts of the business sector (including some the government can usually rely on for support), and most importantly, the majority of the Hong Kong people

Then there was her description the other day of the Tiananmen Massacre candlelight vigil as "some sort of gathering to commemorate a particular historic incident".  I'm not a violent man, but I really wanted to slap her around a bit and shout "It was a bloody mass murder, not a 'historic incident'" in her uncaring ears.

And a day or two ago,m she even started playing the mother card.  "As Chief Executive and a mother of two...".  Really, give us a break.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

May You Never Again

Before becoming an awful Prime Minister, Theresa May was an awful Home Secretary.  Her legacy of disasters includes cutting police funding by 20% just as Britain was facing a growing wave of knife crimes and a spate of terror attacks.  The impact has been so devastating that police forces now openly acknowledge that they do not have the resources to handle minor offences, and just have to ignore them.

Even worse than this was May's proclaimed policy to create a "hostile environment" for illegal immigrants.  Unfortunately this also created a hostile environment for legal immigrants - to the point where hundreds of people who had lived in Britain for several decades and were legally entitled to remain were wrongly hustled out of the country.

This disgraceful human rights catastrophe - known as the Windrush Scandal - should have disqualified May from ever holding high office again, but alas, it only came to light after she became Prime Minister and had set out to turn the whole country into a hostile environment for everyone.  Arriving in Downing Street with a platform of excellent promises, she failed to deliver on any of them.  Instead she obsessively pursued her promise to "deliver Brexit" long after it became obvious that no realistic withdrawal deal would ever satisfy the Brexit nuts, and opinion polls showed a clear majority for remaining in the EU.

Perhaps May's only plus point is that just about all the alternative Tory leaders on offer - especially the arch braggart Boris Johnson, a man so incompetent he doesn't even know how to comb his own hair - would be even more awful.
  My poor country!